Modern History Indochina Essay
To what extent were the goals of the United States, in relation to involvement in South Vietnam, undermined by President by Ngo Dinh Diem?
Post-WW2 meant the assembly of a communist power that would come to undermine the force of democracy represented by America. In order to protect a regime that helped 'win' the war and painted the US as a superior saviour power, the US administration under President Eisenhower would come to assist the French in keeping peace in Vietnam as communism spread. To understand how Ngo Dinh Diem (South Vietnamese leader) had undermined US agenda, one must first understand why they had first decided to intervene; and thus accumulate information on whether or not the US would have been unsuccessful without Ngo's 'help', or if their efforts were not good enough to stop a growing communist threat. The objectives of the US admin were propagated to the public of both America and the South as Ho Chi Minh (North Vietnam leader) presented himself to be a viable opponent in the fight for communist containment. The Domino Theory was concocted as part of this propagandist attempt at victory and by doing so created awareness of the spread of communism to the rest of the world. American prestige and idealism also became a contributing factor as the US were looked upon as the 'saviour' nation, their help in WW1 and 2 being the catalyst. In an attempt to enforce nationalistic agenda in the South and on the Home Front, the fact that Ngo Dinh Diem as an incompetent leader let alone puppet was but one example of his undermining of US ideals. Thus allowing Ho in the North to gain even more popularity and make the US' efforts utterly redundant.
With the conclusion of the Geneva Conference, the United States set out to help South Vietnam build an independent state and to provide for its protection from Communist aggression. In furtherance of this approach, the United States offered aid to Ngo Dinh Diem, then Premier under Bao Dai, and quickly moved to establish the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization with the idea of a collective defence arrangement for Southeast Asia similar to the NATO arrangement in Europe. Its prime purpose was to provide a legal basis for containing communism in Southeast Asia. Ho Chi Minh, however, became a powerful opponent what with the support of super powers such as China and Soviet Russia. Ngo was cast in a shadow when it came to contesting against Ho in electoral campaigns and political skill and so it was his incompetence and hubris which ultimately led the steep fall of the US in Vietnam. His nepotistic approach to maintain control (in making his brother his first hand and his sister-in-law, Madam Nhu, as the First Lady) did not go well with the people as they suffered under poverty whilst mere lineage made you prosperous. The Agroville Programs he had implemented had casted the already impoverished people into a more radical sense of poverty and so the US' hopes in 'gaining the hearts and minds of the people' was far from successful - much like their feeble efforts at fighting this war.
Though the US were undergoing pressure from the Cold War and the failures of the Cuban Missile Crises and those that preceded, the Kennedy administration found it difficult to keep up with increasing tension in Vietnam. At this point, America was pretty much funding the war; therefore government expenditure increased significantly as well as conscription and military placement in Vietnam that saw no end. the people on the Home Front saw no reasonable explanation for a continued American presence in Vietnam, especially when the nation could not even keep up with its own international/diplomatic issues. Quite frankly, Ngo was doing nothing to maintain his own nation and so American efforts were to be doubled. He ceased to gain the respect and nationalistic loyalty of his people, even on a religious level, as Ho seemed more likely to win the